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Teachers in Litchfield to take a 'hard freeze' in pay for 2009-10

LITCHFIELD -- Litchfield school teachers will take a "hard freeze" in pay for the 2009-10 school year.

The two-year contract includes a total increase of 3 percent for 2010-11, when the district expects to be out of statutory operating debt.

The contract was approved Monday by the school board. Teachers previously voted in favor of the contract. Given the district's financial situation and what's happening with the state budget, superintendent Bill Wold said there was an "understanding" there was no room for an increase in expenditures, including teacher pay.

A hard freeze means there will be no increase for the district's 230 teachers for the pay schedule, steps, lanes or health insurance.

This is the second year the district's administrators have not had an increase. "The freeze isn't a new concept here," Wold said.

In 2010-11, teachers will receive a 3 percent total increase that will include a 2.08 percent increase in steps and lanes, a 0.83 percent increase in salary and a 0.09 percent increase in health insurance.

Wold was pleased the district met the state's deadline for reaching an agreement and avoided a $55,000 penalty. If many districts do not meet the Friday deadline, Wold said he thinks the Legislature will "scrutinize" the idea of imposing a penalty for those districts.

He said "public opinion might weigh in" if districts have to pay money back to the state, especially during a time when state funding to schools is questionable.

Now that the teachers' contract has been settled, Wold said committees will begin working on contracts for the 70 non-certified staff in the district.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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